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I'd sailed happily on the Westerdam last year 5 times to Mexico, but its sister ship was disappointing. The crew seems to be dispirited and bored, more interested in chatting with their fellow Filipinos or Indonesians instead of with passengers. The Explorations Cafe barista is downright surly, with never a smile or a thank you, something I've never seen on Holland before. After 3 cruises on Carnival in the past month, greeted in the dining room by charming hostesses from 5 different countries, it was disappointing to see nothing but male Indonesians on Holland. My image of the dining room went to zero when I went to use the restroom next to the dining room one morning, only to be chased away by security, who had a table set up stacked with urine sample bottles. There was also a line-up of miserable-looking crew waiting to be drug tested. Has anyone ever seen drug testing done in a public area of a hotel, restaurant, or any other business? Would you continue patronizing a restaurant that would display to patrons urine jars at its entrance? Well, I'm not, I cancelled the 3 other Holland cruises I had scheduled this Spring. The second big fail was having surly contractors close off sections of the promenade outside deck for the entire cruise, from 8-6, so nobody could do laps, run, or relax, without having to turn around and go the other way. Several days they closed off sections on both sides, including 10 minutes before the charity walk they do on the last sea day. There was apparently no oversight of these contractors and no attempt to balance desires of the passengers to enjoy unimpeded access to the promenade versus their maintenance needs--on other ships they saved major maintenance work for port days. Everyone on the ship acted and sounded bored, from the lifeless cruise director on down. The same singers and dancers were doing the same dull, plotless shows I saw 6 months ago on an Alaska cruise (why can't cruise lines do like Norwegian and Vegas and put on 1-hour versions of Broadway shows?) As usual on Holland, the only people who were truly friendly were the Lido servers and the room stewards, along with the jolly captain, bragging about the beautiful, elegant Oosterdam (well, other than the bottles of pee outside the dining room). It's definitely a shock going back to Holland after Carnival. Mobility carts everywhere, older couples bickering like George Costanza's parents everywhere. Despite the tattoos and trashiness of Carnival, I think I had more fun there, the crew seemed to enjoy life more, there was music everywhere (not the corporatized piano duo and classical quartet playing the same programs on every cruise), and Carnival fulfills what it promises, whereas Holland just seems to project faux elegance to gloss over its money-grabbing and upselling. The lack of crew diversity and gender equality is disappointing (if you're not a male Indonesian you can't work as a dining room server or room steward). With every activity on Holland now tied to some corporate partnership, everything is now standardized, so I'll see the same piano and classical programs, the same cooking demonstrations and Oprah/BBC lectures on every Holland cruise, so there's nothing new or original. More and more Lido and outside deck space is being closed off by cabanas that I've never seen anyone use (even the airlines aren't stupid enough to try to raise money by putting a tent cover over a seat--at least not yet).

Drug Testing Next to Dining Room--Yuck

Oosterdam Cruise Review by rj42

16 people found this helpful
Trip Details
I'd sailed happily on the Westerdam last year 5 times to Mexico, but its sister ship was disappointing. The crew seems to be dispirited and bored, more interested in chatting with their fellow Filipinos or Indonesians instead of with passengers. The Explorations Cafe barista is downright surly, with never a smile or a thank you, something I've never seen on Holland before. After 3 cruises on Carnival in the past month, greeted in the dining room by charming hostesses from 5 different countries, it was disappointing to see nothing but male Indonesians on Holland.

My image of the dining room went to zero when I went to use the restroom next to the dining room one morning, only to be chased away by security, who had a table set up stacked with urine sample bottles. There was also a line-up of miserable-looking crew waiting to be drug tested. Has anyone ever seen drug testing done in a public area of a hotel, restaurant, or any other business? Would you continue patronizing a restaurant that would display to patrons urine jars at its entrance? Well, I'm not, I cancelled the 3 other Holland cruises I had scheduled this Spring.

The second big fail was having surly contractors close off sections of the promenade outside deck for the entire cruise, from 8-6, so nobody could do laps, run, or relax, without having to turn around and go the other way. Several days they closed off sections on both sides, including 10 minutes before the charity walk they do on the last sea day. There was apparently no oversight of these contractors and no attempt to balance desires of the passengers to enjoy unimpeded access to the promenade versus their maintenance needs--on other ships they saved major maintenance work for port days.

Everyone on the ship acted and sounded bored, from the lifeless cruise director on down. The same singers and dancers were doing the same dull, plotless shows I saw 6 months ago on an Alaska cruise (why can't cruise lines do like Norwegian and Vegas and put on 1-hour versions of Broadway shows?) As usual on Holland, the only people who were truly friendly were the Lido servers and the room stewards, along with the jolly captain, bragging about the beautiful, elegant Oosterdam (well, other than the bottles of pee outside the dining room).

It's definitely a shock going back to Holland after Carnival. Mobility carts everywhere, older couples bickering like George Costanza's parents everywhere. Despite the tattoos and trashiness of Carnival, I think I had more fun there, the crew seemed to enjoy life more, there was music everywhere (not the corporatized piano duo and classical quartet playing the same programs on every cruise), and Carnival fulfills what it promises, whereas Holland just seems to project faux elegance to gloss over its money-grabbing and upselling. The lack of crew diversity and gender equality is disappointing (if you're not a male Indonesian you can't work as a dining room server or room steward). With every activity on Holland now tied to some corporate partnership, everything is now standardized, so I'll see the same piano and classical programs, the same cooking demonstrations and Oprah/BBC lectures on every Holland cruise, so there's nothing new or original. More and more Lido and outside deck space is being closed off by cabanas that I've never seen anyone use (even the airlines aren't stupid enough to try to raise money by putting a tent cover over a seat--at least not yet).
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